Growing Leadership Abilities

In the wake of recent challenges, many have found themselves reassessing priorities and seeking new opportunities for personal and professional growth. As we transition into a new chapter, it’s a pivotal moment to propel ourselves forward.

Are you looking to advance your career, perhaps launch or expand your own business, or make a meaningful impact in your community? Do you seek to forge deeper connections within the valley, or to enhance your abilities as a manager, parent, partner, or community member?

Whatever aspirations drive you, the RFL Academy stands as a beacon of support and opportunity. Our flagship program is dedicated to empowering individuals  to realize your goals, both personally and professionally. Join us on a transformative journey as we navigate the path forward, together.

Application Deadline is July 15, 2024
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RFL provided me with an ongoing educational forum in Leadership training; an opportunity to learn about current valley wide issues, and with the contacts made, the ability to utilize these skills and information gained to be more effective in my civic and community involvement.

George Newman, RFL Founder, Pitkin County Commissioner

This program motivated me to join a volunteer organization and give back to the community.  It has given me an added level of maturity and skills to incorporate into my workplace and home life.  It has confirmed that each of us really can make a substantial difference in the community…

Gordon Ledingham, RFL Academy Alumni, Wells Fargo

Participating in the Academy program has helped me see a path to integrate the personal growth, intuitive and spiritual side of myself with the business, practical and outcomes driven side of myself.

Dave Levine, RFL Academy Alumni, Dave Levine, RFL Academy Alumni

During RFL, I started getting better in the way I communicated – not just through email but I had opportunities to do video calls and phone calls. Ironically, I’ve always preferred face-to-face communication, so I can see people’s reactions. I was never comfortable with writing or just speaking over the phone. Practicing all those kinds of communication helped me a lot because then the pandemic hit and the way I managed to maintain communication with people was really important for my job. I worked remotely in Miami for almost 6 months and I was still able to produce the same level of work as when I was in the office.  

In my personal life, I developed the confidence to break out of my shell and learned how to communicate better with friends and family. I learned how to explain things in a way people understand and be aware of what my body language is reflecting. Being in RFL was like being in a safe sandbox for me. I never felt judged. I felt I could try different things and get feedback on what I could do better and practice that. 

Marjorie Jerez, RFL Academy 2020, US Forest Service

In RFL, I had this realization that I could be a leader – I can lead without being a titled person. From Greg Cortopassi [RFL faculty], I learned it’s okay to be vulnerable, to have emotion, to be my authentic self. I need to come from my truth to help others discover how they can lead and grow. 

For me, it was also really important to learn about human interaction – being a successful leader is all about understanding other people and human behavior.  

Jannette Whitcomb, RFL Alumni 2002, Garfield County

One thing I really took away from the course was learning that often, employees don’t leave because they don’t like what they were doing, they leave because they have poor management. We have a small boatyard in Newport where we do a lot of work on the boat when it’s up here and I manage the 8-10 people who do that work. I think that knowledge has pushed me to be a better manager and pushed me to make sure everyone is happy and fulfilled, otherwise it’ll be impossible to find good employees regardless of the industry you’re in – whether it’s restaurants or retail or sailing boats or managing a boatyard.  

Josh Axler, RFL Academy 2021, Sailboat Racer, Captain

The focus of effective leadership through communication, civic leadership, and conflict resolution has helped prepare me …  The networking that RFL facilitated has helped me build relationships with many of the valley’s leaders and has allowed for numerous opportunities for collaboration.

Austin Weiss, RFL Academy Alumni, Aspen's Director of Parks

Thanks to the broad range of RFL sessions, and the progression in how they were presented, I’ve felt a transformation in my personal growth, which has led to a transformation in my professional demeanor, one that is far from complete but that I continue to work on every day.

Cindy Hirschfeld, RFL Academy Alumni, Aspen Sojourner

When you go through something like RFL, sometimes you don’t understand what it gives you until later. I appreciate the kinds of conversations that happened in that room; you feel like you’re part of something. It’s definitely a stepping stone in your own understanding of what leadership can mean.  

Mitzi Rapkin, RFL Alumni 2013, Podcaster, Journalist, Fiction Writer

RFL was valuable in being able to network. I was able to meet a new group of people in my community that I would have never known without RFL. Everyone was truly an inspiration to me, seeing their accomplishments and how they contribute… RFL really did give me a new outlook on the possibilities of life.

Shelbi Bauer, RFL Academy Alumni, Alpine Bank

RFL helped us boost our leadership skills, and provide the tools and relationships to further expand our personal and professional goals and dreams.

Dwayne and Margaret Romero, RFL Academy Alumni

RFL has affected my leadership journey by connecting me with individuals and teaching me the language of leadership. The skills and knowledge taught in the program have impacted my life by raising my level of awareness, skill, and education, so that I may continue to be of service to the communities I’m involved in.

Tony Mendez, RFL Academy Alumni, Alpine Legal Services